“5 things you can do about climate change” – CNN, 6 May 2014

We here at Phinix are huge proponents of doing what you can at home to prevent any further impacts of climate change. The disastrous effects of global warming are stacking up, leading to higher temperatures and rising sea levels. More flooding, wildfires, and droughts are to be expected. Here are five things you can do to lend a helping hand to the environment.

Become Informed

Staying informed about what policy makers are doing and saying is paramount. If you stay educated on climate change, then you can make knowledgeable decisions when voting and electing politicians into office. It also wouldn’t hurt to know what the policy makers are discussing:

  • Lowering carbon dioxide levels—for example, establishing carbon taxes and carbon caps;
  • Changing the Earth’s response to the effects of climate change—for example, building seawalls to combat the rising sea levels; and
  • Adapting the Earth to counteract climate change—for example, changing our oceans to absorb more CO2.

Make Changes at Home

The EPA suggests you do the following to curb your greenhouse gas emissions, which will also save you money:

  • Change your five most-used light bulbs to products that have the EPA’s Energy Star label;
  • Heat and cool more efficiently, such as by using a programmable thermostat, changing air filters, and replacing old equipment with Energy Star products;
  • Seal and insulate your home;
  • Make use of recycling programs, and compost food and yard waste;
  • Reduce water waste;
  • Use green power, such as solar panels; and
  • Estimate how much greenhouse gas you emit with the EPA’s calculator.

Be Greener at the Office

You can also help out at the office. Here’s how:

  • Set computers and other office equipment to power down during periods when you’re not using them;
  • Use Energy Star equipment; and
  • Recycle and reuse whenever possible.

Reduce Emissions in Transit

You can reduce your emissions both in your daily and cross-country commutes:

  • Rely on public transportation, biking, walking, carpooling, or telecommuting instead of driving;
  • Use the EPA’s Green Vehicle Guide to help you make an informed choice about buying a car;
  • While driving, try to avoid hard accelerations, don’t spend more than 30 seconds idling, and go easy on the gas pedal and brakes; and
  • Make sure to regularly check your tire pressure.

When you’re traveling by plane, try these tricks:

  • Consider packing lighter because less fuel is consumed with less weight on the plane;
  • Fly during the day because night flights have a bigger impact on the climate; and
  • Buy carbon credits to compensate for the emissions on your flight.

Get Involved and Educate Others About the Bigger Picture

Though one person’s efforts might only have a small influence, involving and educating others will allow our impact to grow. Together, we can help to prevent any further damaging effects of climate change.

Developed and Written by Dr. Subodh Das and Tara Mahadevan

May 13, 2014

Phinix LLC

Copyright 2014. All rights Reserved by Phinix, LLC.

www.phinix.net    skdas@phinix.net

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U.S. Post Office “Go Green” Initiative: Tip #11: Adjust Your Thermostat

Last week we blogged on Tip #10: Plant Trees. As part of our ongoing 15-week blog series promoting the United States Post Office “Go Green” Stamp Collection, this week we are blogging Tip #11: Adjust Your Thermostat.

With Winter now in full force, most of us have our thermostats cranked up to heat our homes. Unfortunately, generating large amounts of heat also contributes to a larger carbon footprint and high energy costs. This blog will discuss some options for conserving the energy in your home, and hopefully, dialing down your thermostat.

According to earth911.com, adjusting your thermostat by even a small figure can have a dramatic impact, “In the winter, turn your thermostats down to 68 degrees or below. Reduce the setting to 55 degrees before going to sleep or when leaving for the day. (For each 1 degree you turn down the thermostat in the winter, you’ll save up to 5% on your heating costs.)” The U.S. Department of Energy reports similar astonishing statistics, “You can save around 10% a year on your heating and cooling bills by simply turning your thermostat back 10°–15° for eight hours.”

You don’t have to sacrifice your comfort to save on energy either, as the USDE observes, “Using a programmable thermostat, you can adjust the times you turn on the heating or air-conditioning according to a pre-set schedule. As a result, you don’t operate the equipment as much when you are asleep or when the house is not occupied.” Thus, with a simple home upgrade, you can save yourself a lot of money, and greatly reduce your carbon footprint.

care2.com offers these tips for operating your thermostat:

1. When you’ll be out for an evening, turn down the thermostats. If you’ll be away for a weekend or more, lower the thermostats to 55 F. You’ll save on heating without risking a freeze-up of your water pipes.

2. Whenever you can lower your thermostat dramatically for a few days or more, you’ll save a little on the operation of the refrigerator and freezer, which won’t need to work so hard to maintain their cool.

3. How low can your thermostats be set? At our house, we’ve gotten accustomed to 68 F as a comfortable norm. Reduce the heat just 1 degree at a time and try it for a week. Each 1-degree drop for an eight-hour period reduces your fuel bill about one percent. Gradually, you might be able to go down 3 or even 4 degrees comfortably and save a chunk of money.

4. Try turning down the thermostat 5 to 10 degrees at night, and then turn it up again in the morning when the coffee is brewing. If you can get used to that, you’ll save 5 to 10 percent of your heating bill.

Once common myth is that when you reduce the thermostat for only a few hours it will take more heat to bring your home back up to the desired temperature. This is not so. You will save money and fuel because your heating system will not have to keep your home so warm. You will use less energy overall even when you warm up your house from a cooler temperature.

5. For greater ease and comfort, install a programmable set-back thermostat. They are available for most gas- and oil-fueled central heating systems. In this way, you can have the heat turned up before you get up in the morning and lowered just as you get into bed. You may not even notice that you are setting back your thermostat. Most of these thermostats come with two setbacks. Therefore, you can also set back the thermostat for the hours when people are in school or at work.

6. Some setback thermostats have different setbacks for weekends. If you frequently forget to setback your thermostat, the programmable setback thermostats will be a great investment. Even if you are already pretty good at remembering, these devices can frequently enable you to set back the thermostat a few extra degrees, providing you with additional savings.

7. If you heat with electricity, you can take advantage of the individual room thermostats that make it possible to shut off unused rooms and to have cool settings in some rooms and warmer settings in others. Using this feature of electric heat will definitely reduce your fuel bills. If you have a thermostat that controls a relatively large area, you should still consider a setback thermostat. You will need an electrician for this installation.

8. Do you need to talk yourself into a lower thermostat setting? Here’s an argument. Your plants are healthier in the cooler air. The health of your plants isn’t in the same league with your personal comfort? All right, you’ll be healthier in the cooler air. Your body will burn a few more calories keeping you warm, thereby helping you to lose weight and improve your general health. Besides, if you’ve already insulated and tightened your home, you will probably be just as comfortable at lower temperatures.

9. When it’s time to open the windows for a little fresh air in the spring, remember to turn down the thermostats. Those cool breezes that feel so good will send your furnace on a fuel-burning rampage unless the thermostats are reset.

10. Planning a party? Turn the thermostats down. Each guest is the equivalent of a 175-watt heater, and a large group will warm up the place without the furnace or the heating units in operation.

We hope this blog has provided you with some valuable information to help lower your home heating costs!

Next week we will be blogging on Tip #12: Turn off the lights when not in use.

Stay tuned.

Conceived, Developed and Written by Dr. Subodh Das and Austin McKinney on January 26, 2012

All rights Reserved by Phinix, LLC

www.phinix.net    skdas@phinix.net

 

 

 

 

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